Fall

Fall has arrived since the last time I wrote here, it was heralded by two extremely windy days, then I went to bed last Friday and woke up in the middle of the night feeling so cold I had to fetch an extra quilt. It was snowing the next  morning, and the house felt so frigid. I switched on the furnace, expecting to hear the sudden whoosh and that comforting dusty smell, but nothing. Something was wrong with the furnace. So on Saturday afternoon I called in a repair man, he arrived at 9.30 pm and showed me how the batteries in the hermostat had eroded. Now the furnace is in working order, we don’t really need it because the weather has warmed up again. Fall is definitely on the way though.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately just filling in forms and dealing with medical things, I’m quite well though, am on a waiting list to get treated for the hyperthyroidism. I have to have my mammogram repeated. So was feeling rather sorry for myself last week and it was with perfect timing my brother called and we had a lengthy chat, then out of the blue I sold a story I had written 18 months ago and completely forgotten about! What with all the upheaval at Dorchester Media, I think the story had just been left lying around. Three of the True magazines are gone now, True Confessions and True Story remain. Even though the stories I wrote were just simple, formulaic romances, I had forgotten how good it feels to sell a story. I don’t intend jumping back into it but I do want to finish the story I started about a year ago and submit and then hopefully dig my way out of the awful slump I am in where writing is concerned, I get ideas and I still love writing, but somehow the laundry/cooking/driving/job/housework all seem to get in the way.

Boy 2 made me smile yesterday. I’d made his ‘bed’ (he’s still sleeping on an exercise mat) with a red sheet and his Spongebob quilt. His usual plaid sheet was in the dryer. When he got home from school he went into his room and started crying, I ahd to tell his therapist (who was visiting at the time) I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I could see he’d stripped his bed but that doesn’t usually upset him. After Miss K left I went to investigate further (he’d stopped crying by now) and saw that the red sheet had been stuffed back into the linen closet, so I put it back on. He pulled it off and started really fussing. I then put the plaid sheet, dry by this time, on his bed and he was fine, I have no idea what he has  against the red sheet!  

Lara at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Portland
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Staff Training Day

Today was something of a change of pace for me as it was staff training day at Central, and it was so great too see so many old coworkers from Mission, I realized how much I miss them all. They were so supportive during the trickiest period of my life. And as fond as I am of my coworkers as Tallyn’s, I have known coworkers from Mission for almost 20 years! The training events started with a talk about technology in libraries from a man who couldn’t work Powerpoint or get his microphone to activate, then there was a zumba session and I joined in, there was much laughing and stumbling around. Then went to this session called Book Bingo, which was really interesting and during the talk on upcoming new books I ticked many on the list provided – The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott comes out in February 2012. It’s about a woman travelling on the Titanic to a new job as a dressmaker, but then ehr life is overtaken by the tragedy and its aftermath. I ticked some others but can’t remember why in every case – Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin sounded promising, as did A Man of Parts : A novel of HG Wells by David Lodge, Keeping Time by STacy McGlynn is set in England and is about an older woman who travels to America to find a lost love – but it sounded ve humorous and the comment that if you liked The Literary Potato Peel Society you mgiht like this induced me to tick this one. Hmm, several others – new one by STephen King is about people travelling back in time to try and prevent the JFK assasination which doesn’t sound terribly original, the Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is about a group of Japanese mail order brides, If Jack’s in Love by Stephen Wetta sounds very quirky and interesting.

So lots to add to my TBR list. I won a book during this session but when I opened it to my disappointment it was a medieval romance so I gave it to the woman sitting next to me, she insisted on giving me ehr book instead which was a contemporary romance and it was dire so I left it on the paperback exchange. This was slightly disappointing because I could see other people had won quite chunky trade paperbacks that looked evry intriguing. The next session was about genealogy and frankly I started to lose my will to live.

Bookwise, after the medieval romance disappointment, I did have something of a triumph. I was looking in A+ thrift store for jeans for Boy 2 and strolled over to the books and there was a huge fat Penny Vincenzi novel called Wicked Pleasures. I haven’t seen this one in libraries here and it’s quite old, it just had the price in pounds on the back so is maybe the UK edition. She writes books that are really easy to read, pure indulgence really. I tend to listen to my women’s fiction more than reading it these days and have just finished listening to Sing Me Home by Jodi Picoult. I don’t generally find her novels or characters particularly appealling and it’s hard to say why, for some reasons the characters just don’t spring to life enough for me to care about them. Sing Me Home (which was punctuated every few chapters by awful sentimental songs I had to fast forward through) was about a divorced couple. The husband Max, becomes a born again christian afetr the divorce, Zoe, the wife falls in love with a woman and marries ehr. The trouble starts when Zoe wants to start a family with her wife and asks Max for permission to defrost the embryos – Max decides he wants his very religious brother and sister-in-law to have the embryos. Sounds like a gripping situation and most of the novel consisted of the court case and it did keep me awake on my endless drives, but all the religious people in this novel were such cliches and even though I am not religious myself, this bothered me, I think novels need to challenge accepted thinking and assumptions. I knew exactly how the novel would end. Am now listening to Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy, first disc was rather painful, and I don’t expect anything too exciting from this writer, just some cosy entertainment.

A Trip to Ikea

I finally visited Ikea today, 12 days after the grand opening. I had assumed that the Ikea fever I’d heard about on the radio would’ve calmed down considerably, however there were floods of excited people rushing into the store at 10 am. I hate crowds and so was trying not to let this spoil it for me. Something that threw me slightly was that the store has lots and lots more than they show in the catalogue. We (Mr W took me) were walking through this vast showcase area full of very impressive looking furniture, rugs, storage options, kitchens, curtains, but everything was just tagged with a note that told you where you could actually find it. Then we made it into the actual shop area. I’d made a wish list but ended up not getting anything on my wish list except for the 2 chunky wineglasses I liked so much. I bought a big red stuffed snake and a rug for Boy 2 and a toilet brush for 99 cents. I agonized over whether or not to buy a wok for $4.99. I found curtain rods for me and Miss W but then decided not to risk buying curtains for Miss W without her approval (she is camping until the end of the week). But I did buy curtains for me, and I was really pleased that they were so cheap. Something on my wish list had been this large print of the Flatiron building in New York, however it was massive and when I saw it I wasn’t sure I liked it quite as much anymore. Then I found this large print of London, you can see Fortnum and Mason, it’s all hustle and bustle, it’s black and white, but the number 38 bus to Victoria is tinted red and really stands out. I thought this picture would be perfect for the kitchen – the expanse of wall that always looks a bit blank and I can never make look right – so I’m going to start painting that wall asap.

my new curtainsLondon picture

Boys back in school

It seems a bit amazing that the boys are now both back in school. Boy 1 returned today and is in 10th grade, and of course Boy 2 has been at Serenity now for about 3 weeks. Boy 1 was in a sour mood last night, but went off to school cheerfully enough this morning. Summer is just flying by.

Boy 1's pepperoni pizza

 

Visit to Boy 2’s School

Miss W graduated from her summer program last week (or was it the week before?) but I have been in no hurry to document the ceremony because she was so sullen and the only way I could get through the whole thing was by focusing my attention on another really cheerful girl and pretending to myself that this was my offspring. The visit to Boy 2’s school today was more successful, he has now been at Serenity House for 30 days so the teachers know him better and wanted to discuss what they had observed and talk about future goals. All the staff here are very welcoming and seemed really optimistic about Boy 2’s potential, and reported that he is cheerful and accomodating, is sitting for longer periods, picking up some more basic sign language (to add to his single gesture – clapping – which seems to indicate ‘more’ or ‘please’). He can now do the proper sign for ‘more’ and is learning pre-writing skills and some letter sequencing so that he can recognise and maybe even write his name someday. It is really a stretch for me to picture Boy 2 writing his name, but so great to be with people who think that it’s definitely something worth working for and believe that Boy 2 is worth some effort,

Miss W, trying hard to contain her joyhaving fun at his new school

what a change after the negative and defensive staff of Aurora Public Schools.